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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story.
“Oh, dear. What's happened here, sir?"
"Oh, no. Has Connor broken down, sir?"
"There are two of you! You played a trick on me. You
aren't really faster than I am!”
―Bill, Ben, and Connor

Bill or Ben? is the fifteenth (twenty-fourth in Australia) episode of the seventeenth season.

Plot

One day, while puffing along the mainline, a big and fast engine Bill and Ben have never seen before pulls onto their track at a junction. Further along the line, Bill and Ben meet Thomas who tells them that the streamlined engine was Connor. The twins think that Connor must be full of himself, racing around and surprising other engines. Thomas tries to explain that Connor is friendly, but the twins are not convinced.

Sometime later, the twins pass through Henry's tunnel when they get surprised by Connor again. Ben is still inside the tunnel as Connor passes and whistles hello to Bill. The twins decided to play a trick on the streamlined engine.

The next time Connor comes to Sodor, Bill is waiting for him. Bill challenges Connor to a race, but the big streamlined engine does not think it would be fair to race against such a small tank engine. Eventually, Connor agrees and when the signal turns green, they both race off towards Ulfstead Castle. Bill is soon left far behind and Connor thinks he has won. Connor gets a massive shock when he pulls into Ulfstead Castle and sees Ben waiting at the platform. Connor falls for the twins' plan and thinks it is Bill who has beaten him to the castle. Ben suggests that they have a rematch and race back to the bridge. Connor agrees and the race soon starts.

This time, Connor takes no chances and focuses solely on beating the little tank engine. He concentrates on the race so hard that he runs through a red signal and nearly causes a serious accident with Henry. Connor's relief is short-lived as the Fat Controller pulls up in Winston. He is very cross with Connor for missing the red signal. Just then, the twins both pull up and Connor realises that he was being tricked all along. The Fat Controller is not amused with Bill and Ben's antics and punishes them by ordering Bill to be repainted so that they cannot be confused so easily.

At the Sodor Steamworks, Bill tries to get out of being repainted but Victor has been warned in advance by the Fat Controller about the twins' tricky ways. Shortly, Bill has a brand new dark blue livery.

Back at the shunting yard, Ben laughs when he sees his twin. Bill is not happy; now that he does not look the same as his twin, it is no fun at all. Then, Ben has a crafty idea and heads off to the Steamworks himself. When he arrives, Victor is not there and Ben tells Kevin that he is Bill and has come to be repainted in accordance with the Fat Controller's orders. Kevin is unsure as he thinks Bill was repainted the day before, and thinks that he should wait until Victor returns so they can arrange it, but Ben refuses to wait, and threatens to involve the Fat Controller. Kevin, not wanting to get into trouble with the Fat Controller, agrees to let Ben be repainted. Soon, Ben has been painted the same colour as Bill. Victor arrives and is not happy, but there is nothing he can do; the job has already been done.

Bill and Ben, now both painted dark blue, are on their way again when they see Connor up ahead. The twins decide to play another trick on him. Bill challenges Connor to another race. Connor agrees, thinking aloud about his assurance that only one of the twins has been repainted. Connor thinks he will definitely win, but Bill is not so sure...

Characters

Locations

Cast

UK

US

  • Martin Sherman as Thomas
  • David Bedella as Victor
  • Jonathan Broadbent as Bill and Ben
  • Jonathan Forbes as Connor
  • Kerry Shale as Henry, Kevin and Sir Topham Hatt

Trivia

  • This episode has similarities to the magazine story, Diesel's Race and the second season episode, The Diseasel.
  • Going by production order, this is the twenty-fourth episode of the seventeenth season.
  • This marks the first time since the seventh season episode, Bill, Ben and Fergus that Bill and Ben have had leading roles in an episode.
  • This is the first time since Thomas and the Magic Railroad where all of the engines have lamps.
  • Connor's close call with almost colliding with Henry is an example of performing a real-life railway danger known as a SPAD (Signal Passed At Danger).

Goofs

  • Henry's brake van changes between shots.
  • When Connor screeches to a stop, his bogie wheels and trailing wheels spark, but neither are fitted with brakes.
  • Through out the episode, Connor's driving rods are not connected to his wheels.
  • When Bill and Ben speak to Thomas, Ben is not coupled to the trucks.
  • When Connor nearly hits Henry's train, the initial shot of him shutting his eyes as he applies his brakes shows him slowing down inches from Henry. In the next shot, Connor is not even at the points yet.
  • When Connor realises that he had been tricked, his valve gear is not connected to his crosshead.
  • The workmen should've realised they were repainting Ben blue by looking at his nameplate on either side of his boiler.

Merchandise

In Other Languages

Language Title
Chinese 比尔或班
Croatian Bill ili Ben?
Czech Bill nebo Ben?
Estonian Bill või Ben?
French Qui est qui?
German Bill oder Ben?
Greek Ο Μπιλ ή ο Μπεν;
Hebrew ?ביל או בן
Hungarian Bill vagy Ben?
Italian Bill o Ben?
Japanese ビルかな?ベンかな?
Korean 빌인가 벤인가
Norwegian Bill eller Ben?
Polish Wiluś, czy Benio
Portuguese Bill ou Ben?
Romanian Bill sau Ben?
Russian Билл или Бен
Spanish ¿Bill o Ben?
Thai แฝดซ่าส์ท้าแข่ง
Ukrainian Білл або Бен


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